astronomy Newsletter


November 28 2013 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Packing for Mars - book review
If you think being an astronaut is a glamorous occupation, Mary Roach's book “Packing for Mars” will bring you down to Earth. Playing in free-fall looks like fun, but without gravity, eating, hygiene and dealing with waste are not fun. Here's the lowdown. Still want to go to Mars?

*Happy Thanksgiving to readers in the USA*

Astronauts on the International Space Station will also be having a Thanksgiving dinner. Here's their Thanksgiving message for this year:

Here is my article about “Thanksgiving in Space” which looks at the way space food has improved over the years: Mary Roach's book has a chapter devoted to the bad old days of developing space food – it was designed by veternarians.

I found an interesting video on how space food is prepared these days: I did laugh when they said that since the astronauts could use ordinary utensils to eat straight from the food pouches, it was like eating at home. Hmmm. Do *you* use food pouches at home?

*Happy Birthday, ISS*

The Space Station was 15 years old this month. NASA prepared an interesting infographic which you can see here:

*Happy Hannukah*

Greetings and good wishes to any readers who are celebrating Hannukah. (I would have put this in last week, but hadn't realized that it was so early this year.)

*Comet ISON*

The comet will reach its perihelion today and will be zipping along as close as 730,000 miles to the Sun. There's a good explanation of how the Sun affects a comet in this little video: Educators may find this of particular interest.

The comets are being picked up by satellites which are observing the Sun. STEREO imaged both Encke and ISON several days ago, and yesterday ISON came into the field of view of SOHO: The Sun is blocked, like an artifical eclipse, but the image has a white circle to show where it is. Besides ISON at the lower right, you can see a coronal mass ejection from the Sun.

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I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I welcome your feedback!

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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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